Hot Tips: Online Purchasing Tips
A selection of useful tidbits of information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by Advanced Aquarist's readership. Readers are encouraged to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the Reefs.org General Reefkeeping Discussion forum or send their tips to email@example.com for possible publication. Next month's Hot Tip theme will be "Favorite Websites".
Online Purchasing Tips:
Create a running list of items you need before making an order. Making a large order of supplies/equipment can save you money on shipping. Some online retailers will even waive shipping costs if the amount ordered is over a certain amount.
This goes for livestock as well. When ordering livestock, sometimes it better to pool your orders with a few fellow reefkeepers to save on shipping costs.
-- "Rob Reef Keeper"
1) Ask vendors if they will price match. Many on-line vendors will match other published prices.
2) Don't always shop by dollar amount of the product. It's not uncommon for a vendor to sell a product at a reduced price only to make up the cost in higher shipping prices. Thus the higher priced vendor may actually cost less once shipping & handling fee's have been added.
3) Read the fine print on arrive alive guarantees. It's typically only the price of the livestock and not shipping that is credited. Thus you may still have to pay about $50 in shipping for the $10 fish that died. Secondly, arrive alive is usually only covered the first time. If the something goes wrong with the replacement you may find yourself out of luck. They don't keep replacing critters indefinitely.
-- Rich Durso, "reefland"
If you are ordering something that you need really badly, pick up the phone and call to make sure it's not going to be back ordered.
Find out what vendors are in your shipping zone. For example, I live in Fort Myers Flordia and receive items from Atlanta without having to pay for overnight. UPS ground makes it in one day every single time.
ALWAYS read the site's FAQ page , warranty policies, shipping policies/info, etc. posted online BEFORE buying anything, to avoid any confusion/dissapointment with your purchases beforehand.